The 50-Mile Hike

Hi Everyone!


Welcome again to Courtney Psak’s 30 days to 30 blog. Based off of my book Thirty Days to Thirty, a fiction novel that is a fun light hearted or vacation/beach read about a girl accomplishing her bucket list before her 30th birthday.


Although it’s a chick lit, it’s also about self discovery and personal development that is meant to inspire people like me who are almost 30 and want to accomplish those bucket list items that they have been meaning to get to, but tend to let fall to the wayside.


This blog is about my bucket list items that I am accomplishing before I turn 30. I hope they inspire you to do the same!

So when my husband Paul was turning 30, I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday. A few of his friends were turning 30 all in the same month, so they all decided they wanted to go to Napa with their wives. Great, I thought.

Paul then comes to me and suggests since we have all these vacation days, do we want to go out to California earlier, spend some time just the two of us before we go.

First it was talks of going to Big Sur for a few days, then San Fransisco before we met everyone in Napa.

Then Paul says to me, what do you think about doing a hike?

I love hiking and camping is good for a few days, but what Paul was suggesting was a 50 mile week long guided hike through Yosemite.

It was his 30th. I couldn’t say no, though I admit at the beginning, I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the idea.  We were going late August, so we had time to get in shape and book our trip. Turns out that the week we wanted was one of the hardest hikes offered, go figure. Paul convinces me and himself that we are young enough that we can train for this and be fine.

First I needed real hiking boots. After reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, I had the biggest fear that my boots were going to be the death of me.

We spent the summer breaking them in though, hiking ten miles a day on the weekends. That was the average amount of miles you had to a hike daily. I was terrified. I remember hiking Mount Equinox in Vermont, only five miles but a hell of a vertical gain, and having a breakdown. Oh, did I forget to mention that we would be carrying 40 pounds on our backs!?!

I learned that some weeks if I was active enough, the hike was no issue. However, drinking Friday night, leads to a much harder hike on Saturday. The biggest thing I learned was where my hot spots were. This meaning where my feet would tend to blister. I learned to pre-wrap my feet before the hike and it would eliminate the blisters.

We eventually found ourselves getting strong and each time the hike and distance was easier to manage.

When we finally did get out there, the hardest part was what we couldn’t prepare for. Elevation. That first day was the worst. I was light headed, I felt like I had a lot more than 40 pounds on back and I fell down once and literally couldn’t get up.  I took a ton of breaks and I didn’t have an appetite to eat anything. Setting up our tent took forever and I was so cold that Paul had to give me his jacket on top of mine so I would stop shaking and trust me, we did come prepared.

By day two we had finally acclimated and we found ourselves leading the front of the pack. I had gotten my appetite back, I didn’t need as many breaks and my tent was easier to set up.

By day three, the ten of us were all talking about the hikes we had been on and everyone was surprised to learn this our first.

The picture at the top of this blog was day five at 10K. Yes, that is a beach at 10,000 feet! When  the guide told us about it we thought she was kidding. Paul is lounging leisurely reading a book and I am passed out face down. That was the first time on the whole trip that we only hiked six miles and got to spend the afternoon laying by the beach or fishing.

It was probably the most bonding time we all had. Before that we would spend the entire day hiking so by the time we got to our destination we had just enough time to pitch our tent, eat dinner, pump our water and would be asleep by 9:00 so we could get up again at 6:00.

After a particularly grueling day, Paul asked me if this trip was a mistake and I remember telling him to ask me that question again next week. We learned this was what people call type II fun. The type of fun that sucks at the time, but when you look back you realize how amazing it really was.

So I really learned a lot from this trip.

First, it’s amazing what your body is capable of. The way we adjusted between acclimation, weight on our backs and just pure determination, makes you realize just how tolerant your body really is. The one thing that pissed me off. Paul lost seven pounds after that trip and I lost two. Damn men!

Secondly, the views we saw were spectacular. You really couldn’t see what we saw anywhere else in the world. I had never seen a shooting star before and I saw a huge one fly across the entire sky!  It puts things in perspective for you and makes you realize just how small you are in this world, in a humbling way.

Thirdly, this trip was just a great accomplishment. It was something we were determined to do, we worked hard and we did it! Would I do it again? Yes, but maybe not a full week. I think 4-5 days is a limit for me. I like my showers to be a little more frequent. Plus side to Yosemite though, you are so high up, you really don’t sweat which means you don’t smell THAT bad. 🙂

One piece of advice if you do something like this, book a full body massage when you get out. That was probably the best massage I had ever had in my life!

Thank you for reading this entry of Courtney Psak’s 30 days to 30 blog. I hope this inspires you with your own bucket list to accomplish as much as you can before your 30th or even before your next birthday!


Remember be sure to check out Thirty Days to Thirty if you are looking for a fiction chick lit novel that is a fun, light, vacation or beach read.

Buy Thirty Days to Thirty Here




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